Saturday’s White House Correspondents Association dinner exposed anew how far from Middle America our elite media reside.
At the dinner, the electricity was gone, the glamor and glitz were gone. Neither the president nor his White House staff came. Even Press Secretary Sean Spicer begged off.
The idea of a convivial evening together of our media and political establishments is probably dead for the duration of the Trump presidency.
Until Jan. 20, 2021, it appears, we are an us-vs.-them country.
As for the Washington Hilton’s version of Hollywood’s red carpet, C-SPAN elected to cover instead Trump’s rollicking rally in a distant and different capital, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Before thousands of those Middle Pennsylvanians Barack Obama dismissed as clinging to their Bibles, bigotries and guns, Donald Trump, to cheers, hoots and happy howls, mocked the media he had stiffed:
“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom … I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp … with a much, much larger crowd and much better people.”
Back at the Hilton, all pretense at press neutrality was gone. Said WHCA president Jeff Mason in scripted remarks: “We are not fake news. We are not failing news organizations. We are not the enemy of the American people.”
A standing ovation followed. The First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press was repeatedly invoked and defiantly applauded, as though the president were a clear and present danger to it.
For behaving like a Bernie Sanders’ rally, the national press confirmed Steve Bannon’s insight — they are the real “opposition party.”